Nursemaids Elbow – Birth to age 5

University of Washington

University of Washington

As referenced in my product review of Walking Wings, I have a baby with nursemaids elbow.  Baby K is my third born child, and he is much like my first born having this nursemaids elbow. I am lucky in that I have dealt with one child already who had the issue and now know how to properly handle a child with this problem.

You will find I refer to nursemaids elbow as a “issue”, “problem”, or even “injury” because honestly I have yet to find the proper term for it. Nursemaids elbow is a common injury that can occur from birth all the way to age five. This article is more of a way to let more Moms know this is an all too common injury that may lead to pediatricians,  emergency room personnel and others blaming someone for the injury occurring. Please know that nursemaids elbow is not something that occurs because of abuse, neglect or similar associated with child mistreatment.

What is nursemaids elbow:

An injury that occurs when the child’s arm is slightly pulled {without intending harm} that makes the elbow “pop” out of socket. The joint where your elbow is to sit is slightly too large for the child’s elbow, but will grow into itself within the first four to five years of life.

Nursemaids elbow is an interposition of the annular ligament into the radial-humerus joint. The annular ligament normally passes around the proximal radius just below the radial head. With traction on the extended arm, the annular ligament slides over the head of the radius into the joint space and becomes entrapped. Taken from The University of Chicago Pritzer School of Medicine Pediatrics Clerkship

How does it occur?

Nursemaids elbow can occur for something as simple as a child rolling over, not letting go of the child’s hand when they are falling, holding babies hand while they pull themselves up, and many other similar situations.

What can I do?

Aside from feeling really guilty about your child constantly having their elbow pop out of place, you can be aware that your child has this problem. Make family, friends and any others who may play with, babysit or be near your child aware of nursemaids elbow and how fragile your child’s arm truly is.

Will my child outgrow this?

YES! Most children outgrow nursemaids elbow by age 4 or 5. My first born didn’t have an occurrence after age 2, but pediatricians have told me up to age 5 they can be at risk for nursemaids elbow.

Disclosure: I am writing this as one Mom to another parent to make more people aware of this injury, and am in no way a medical expert. If you feel your child may have nursemaids elbow the only way you can find out for sure is to discuss with your pediatrician or family doctor.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

About Nichole Smith

Nichole Smith has written 759 post in this blog.

Founder of Chaos in the Country and (original) The Guilty Parent blog, Nichole is a professional writer, blogger, social media strategist, and collector of yarn, books, and pretty paper.

Comments

  1. Wow. Thanks for sharing that cause I had no clue what nursemaid’s elbow was! I saw you mention it in the review…

    Does it hurt much? I mean, I assume it does when it’s out of place, but is it sore or painful otherwise? Once the elbow is popped out do you have to see a Dr to have it reset?

    Poor lil guys!

  2. Wow. Thanks for sharing that cause I had no clue what nursemaid’s elbow was! I saw you mention it in the review…

    Does it hurt much? I mean, I assume it does when it’s out of place, but is it sore or painful otherwise? Once the elbow is popped out do you have to see a Dr to have it reset?

    Poor lil guys!

  3. First Thanks for the comment!

    Second – it’s more uncomfortable I believe. It sort of hurts when the pediatrician pops it back in, but as soon as it’s back in they are moving their arms again and all happy!

    It’s just scary when it first happens because they whimper, cry and won’t move their arm so the first time this happened with Baby K I actually called the ambulance to take him & me to the hospital – I had no clue he was suffering from nursemaids elbow like his big sis!

    I could pop his elbow in – it’s an easy process, but I just can’t do it myself so I always take him to the pediatricians. My husband was shown how to do it so if we are out on a family trip he can place it back in rather than going to a strange ER.

    Brandy

    Brandy’s last blog post..[IN] Place System by Peter Walsh

  4. First Thanks for the comment!

    Second – it’s more uncomfortable I believe. It sort of hurts when the pediatrician pops it back in, but as soon as it’s back in they are moving their arms again and all happy!

    It’s just scary when it first happens because they whimper, cry and won’t move their arm so the first time this happened with Baby K I actually called the ambulance to take him & me to the hospital – I had no clue he was suffering from nursemaids elbow like his big sis!

    I could pop his elbow in – it’s an easy process, but I just can’t do it myself so I always take him to the pediatricians. My husband was shown how to do it so if we are out on a family trip he can place it back in rather than going to a strange ER.

    Brandy

    Brandy’s last blog post..[IN] Place System by Peter Walsh

  5. My Madelyn had this, it started when she was two. She’s six now and it hasn’t happened for at least a year. I had taken her to the ER 5 or 6 times to have it reset.

    Each time, they tried to show me how to do it but I just.couldn’t.do.it.

    Until once- my husband was out of town, so I had 5 kids (one of which was very new) home alone in the middle of the night- going to the ER would have been a huge ordeal. I paced the floor- researched the technique online- paced the floor- watched videos of the technique (I wish I could remember the name of it- like “version” or something) and finally, i went into her room while she was asleep (whimpering and holding it oddly) and the entire “fix” took two seconds. i cried tears of joy, it only happened like 2 or 3 times after that.

    We spoke with a physical therapist, there are things kids can do to strengthen that ligament- pushups, climbing ,monkeybars, NO hanging, crawling around helps. Thank goodness it’s over:)

  6. It’s funny that you say that the child can do exercises such as pushups, climbing and monkey bars, because those type of events were what would cause my oldest’s elbow to pop out. We met with a orthopedic specialist who said there was nothing you could do for exercises. I am glad to hear it’s over. My oldest never had a problem again after a certain age and baby K hasn’t had it happen again YET.

  7. It’s funny that you say that the child can do exercises such as pushups, climbing and monkey bars, because those type of events were what would cause my oldest’s elbow to pop out. We met with a orthopedic specialist who said there was nothing you could do for exercises. I am glad to hear it’s over. My oldest never had a problem again after a certain age and baby K hasn’t had it happen again YET.

Speak Your Mind

*

CommentLuv badge